Editor's note: "The First 90 Days" is a series about how to make 2016 a year of breakout growth for your business. Let us know how you're making the first 90 days count by joining the conversation on social media with the hashtag #Inc90Days.
If you're serious about making the first 90 days of 2016 count for your business, then there are plenty of things you need. You need technology. You need remarketing. You need Facebook ads. You need to fix your website. You need tools to understand your target market. And you need to use Google AdWords.
Today, let's talk about another amazingly powerful technology businesses need to use: Video.
It is an incredibly powerful way to build your brand.
Want to talk powerful? People are 85 percent more likely to buy a product after viewing a product video.
Here's another crazy stat: An estimated 79 percent of Internet traffic will be video content by 2018.
But there's a problem--and this isn't a secret, but everybody knows video is incredibly powerful.
It seems like everybody and their cat is making videos - just on YouTube, 400 hours of video are uploaded every minute!
So what's it all mean?
Most people won't even know that your company is publishing videos unless you pay to promote them.
It's kind of sad, really. Many small businesses and startups are investing time and money into shooting, editing, and producing good YouTube videos in the hopes of building awareness about the types of products or services they sell. But none of them are getting the attention (i.e., views) they deserve.
However, there is a solution. It will require throwing some money at the problem - at least to get the ball rolling.
But don't worry. This solution isn't too expensive.
Here are 3 smart ways to ensure your videos will get more views using online video ads:
1. Facebook Video Ads
More than a billion people log into Facebook daily, and Americans spend 40 minutes of their day, on average, on the social network. These two statistics prove Facebook video ads have huge potential for businesses that want to grow.
You want to upload your videos directly to Facebook (rather than linking to videos on your website or on YouTube). This is hugely advantageous because Facebook will auto-play the videos in people's timeline, making it the most highly engaging ad format.
You can choose to pay by impression or views (you'll be charged when a user views at least 10 seconds of your video, or 97 percent of your video if it's shorter than 10 seconds).
Another huge advantage: Facebook ad targeting is ridiculously powerful. You can target users based on demographics, interests, remarketing, lists, and so much more.
2. YouTube TrueView Video Ads
YouTube also has more than a billion active users every month. Again, YouTube can potentially fuel your growth.
On YouTube, your goal is to get more people to view the videos you've already uploaded.
The best YouTube ads are memorable. Ads that are surprising, stimulate emotions, or inspire action.
YouTube charges on a pay-per-view basis. If people choose the skip ad button option, you pay nothing.
There are many forms of targeting to choose from, including demographics, interests, keywords, and re-marketing (people who have watched or engaged with your videos, or visited or subscribed to your channel).
One cool side effect of paying for YouTube ads: your YouTube channel will accrue more views, followers, and engagement (e.g., thumbs up, comments). Videos that have more engagement are more likely to rank organically for keyword searches on Google. It's almost like you're paying to get a top Google listing, but you don't have to worry about getting in trouble!
3. Twitter Promoted Video Ads
Like Facebook, Twitter's Promoted Video Ads are native videos that play on Twitter.
If your business relies on a lead generation, video ads on Twitter can be a great way to engage existing customers and get potential customers familiar with your brand.
You'll pay when someone watches the video for at least 3 seconds while it's completely on-screen or when a user watches the video in full screen.
Twitter provides you with plenty of targeting options: keywords (either keywords used in tweets, or searched keywords on Twitter), interests, website tags, tailored audiences, device or carrier, TV targeting (users engaged with specific shows), and demographics.
If you aren't investing in video, you should.
If you're already investing in video, you should make sure there's a balance between your production costs and paid promotion costs. After all, it makes no sense to spend tons of time and money producing videos that only get 10 views organically.
Also, don't forget the purpose of online video. While it's technically possible to include "cards" in your videos to encourage people to click to your website, the purpose of these videos shouldn't be as much "direct response marketing" like search ads where someone is looking for something specific.
Videos are more about indirect conversions. With video, your goal is to get certain desirable people (who fit your target market) familiar with your brand and think happy thoughts about you so that later, when they do need to buy the stuff you sell, they'll give you preference.
Provided that your targeting is great and your content is memorable and/or inspiring, video will most certainly lead to clicks and conversions down the road. Just remember: with video, the path to conversion isn't immediate or easily measurable.